I try very hard to use my words carefully and accurately, so that I mean what I say and say what I mean. For example, the words want and need. When I am discussing something I want, and I use the word need, such as “I need to get a new pair of shoes”, I stop myself and acknowledge I don’t really need to, I want to because, for whatever reason, I’ve become dissatisfied with my current shoe selection, or there may be a pair of shoes I’ve had my eyes on that I really want. But I don’t need the new shoes, because I have shoes. (I’m really not a “shoe addict” – I’m just using this as an example.)
In my most honest moments, I have to acknowledge that I actually have everything I need right now in my life. Most, if not all, of the things that I continue to look for and search for are things that I want, and not things that I need.
I think it is far more important to have everything you need in life, than to have everything you want. I’m pretty sure there’s even some old adage or two about “what you want may not be what you need” or some such. Having what you need leads to satisfaction. Having what you want leads to gratification. I think it’s important to understand the difference between gratification and satisfaction just as it is important to know the difference between want and need. I think sometimes people interchange the two words gratification and satisfaction, but I think they’re very different things.
I am satisfied,when I am hungry and I eat something and I am no longer hungry. What I ate may not have been particularly tasty and I may not have particularly enjoyed eating it, but it sated a need. I am gratified when I am hungry, or maybe not, but crave a certain type of food and I can seek it out and eat it, thereby fulfilling a want.
I am satisfied when I go to work, do my job and get my paycheck, allowing me to pay my bills. I am gratified when I go to work and do my job and earn a promotion, and/or earn more money. I don’t necessarily need a promotion or more money, but getting either, makes me feel like I am appreciated and provides me with more resources to have the things I want, beyond what I need.
I am satisfied with my current home. It meets all of our needs, provides shelter, keeps us warm, and we can afford to live in it. But I want a different house, more privacy, more space, more amenities. Having a new home more in line with what I want, would gratify me.
I think it’s OK to want gratification and seek it out, but I think it’s also important to acknowledge, understand, and appreciate when you are satisfied. Maybe once we understand how satisfied we are, we will find we are more gratified than we realize.